The Newtown Pentacle

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Street Furniture, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is not what I mean by the term “street furniture,” despite some accuracy in the description for the depiction. Street Furniture is the term used by city planners and their ilk for the lamp posts, fire boxes, benches, and all the other stuff which officialdom rivets to the sidewalk. The City of Greater New York is blessed with what must be at least one bureaucrat for every living citizen, and they just love generating “municipal paper.”

This sort of municipal paper is chock full of technical drawings, installation instructions, and specifications outlying the construction and installation of “street furniture.” Check out the NYC DOT’s street design manual here. It will tell you how to plant a tree, or fence one off, and install a light somewhere near it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The urban ephemera which surrounds us all is barely noticed except when one is trying to park a car, but the signs governing the activity are all up on certain sorts of poles, and carry missives which conform to city, state, and federal guidelines governing font usage and kerning.

As discussed in this 2014 NY Times piece, the Federal Highway Administration recently updated the specifications for street signs and have compelled the NYC DOT to change EVERY street sign in the City to conform to their “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, the one thing which the municipal officials don’t seem to want to acknowledge is human biology, and the concept of hanging a piss bucket on a post every few blocks seems to have escaped their endless categorization and classification. Luckily, there are amateur planners out there who ensure that there is always someplace for a passing pedestrian to use and exploit.

While passing by this tableau, a few years back, a humble narrator did – in fact – investigate what might be found under the lid of this unconnected commode. Affirmation that somebody used it to produce what is colloquially referred to as “#2” is offered.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 5, 2016 at 11:00 am

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